45: In this video and blog series, The Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office has been exploring how technology, real estate and agents use social media to connect home sellers and buyers across South Florida. We’ve also examined how clients find trusted Realtors representing clients in neighborhoods like Lake Ridge, Wilton Manors, Las Olas Isles and all of Greater Fort Lauderdale. Working with expert broker associate and certified forensic appraiser Eileen Mulkey, Gary discusses how social media, technology devices like smart phones, and even traditional media are improving how buyers and sellers find real estate agents – and how agents and brokers can share their knowledge and expertise.
We also explore the importance of immediate responses in the “nanosecond environment” and how first impressions with referral clients never get a second chance. Sometimes, that first impression is followed by a video reply – something our old-style flip phones could never do.
Welcome to real estate relationships in the Digital Age.
Technology, Real Estate & Social Media
Social media, digital technology, and the surge of hyper-connected smart phones aren’t just for Generation Xers and Millennials. Baby Boomers are using all these to discover more about the places they call home.
In that sense, we all know the importance of social media as a research and marketing tool for every industry out there. As we continue to move into the digital realm, fellow agents like Tim Singer have proven the value of traditional media, using print outlets like Gold Coast Magazine to target high-end buyers and sellers alike.
One question Tim raised recently was how social media and smart phones have changed the business model for Realtors. These technology and devices present an opportunity for real estate professionals as well as sellers and buyers. With the plethora of websites and apps on the market, many prospective clients come our way with a trove of knowledge about the communities they’re hoping to find a home – or the market forces affecting their listing or planned sale.
Information is good. We appreciate working with knowledgeable clients and prospects who have done their homework and can speak with informed authority.
The technology tools are there – for all of us, and in every language we speak in South Florida, including English, French, Spanish, even Portuguese and Russian. No matter the tongue or community, we all might as well be using all the best tools, right?
We discuss this frequently in our office. Some Realtors were slow to adopt smart phones. Migrating from some flip phone to a device that becomes home to almost everything you need to run your business – contacts, email, market research, document review and signing, and much more – isn’t done in one fell swoop. It takes time.
As Eileen shared, the transition wasn’t easy. But it has proven transformative in the way she and the entire Gary Lanham Group team perform for our clients and prospects. Smart real estate agents want to use technology better; it helps them work smarter, not harder. As Eileen stated, her smart phone “has enabled me to be spot on for my clients. I can access information easily. They enable us to see properties, probe the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) respond by phone or text.”
“I never wanted one,” she admitted. “But I’m glad I made the switch from a flip phone. It’s an amazing tool to have in our toolbox.”
Smart Phones Drive Real Estate Referrals
In a referral-based business like real estate, smart phones are a tremendous resource. Yet, nothing’s changed as far as the “phone” functionality of the smart phone. We still make and receive calls from clients, prospects, partners, and others critical to the way we do our business. It’s the most common way we receive our valued referrals, followed closely by texts. Texts also connect us to HomeLight, an empirical-based system that identifies the best Realtors in the country and connects them with those hoping to sell or buy real estate in various neighborhoods.
But that touch screen opens a world of information and opportunities. We send and receive messages, documents, and data via email – something our flip phones never could do. We use a host of apps to conduct research, map out neighborhoods, and share information in ways that would have seemed the stuff of The Twilight Zone less than a generation ago.
Yet, this always-on, hyper-connected, and potential information overload reality is not without its challenges. Simply put, this “nanosecond environment” has Realtors on our toes. As Eileen attests, when a lead comes in, we have to reach out and respond immediately. If it was a cold lead or something made at arm’s length where the prospect only knows our name, we make the call and introduce ourselves.
As is often said in networking, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. That’s only elevated in social media. Because you might have one, two, or a dozen other Realtors clamoring for that same prospect.
No Second Chance for a First Impression
When we make that first call to introduce ourselves, it’s rarely from our desks any more. It’s more often on the fly, from the seat of our car (calls and messages made hands-free in Florida as of July 1, 2019, by the way) or some remote place we’re calling our workspace at the moment. That’s how technology-savvy real estate agents have to roll in the digital era.
When we do make that call and introduce ourselves, the prospects want answers. Now. Or they may just want have a quick intro-call to set the stage and arrange a meeting. We have what feels like that nanosecond to make that impression, quickly highlight our services, and showcase what we can do for them.
In our office, as soon as we hang up, we open the camera app and switch to Video. Nothing says, “You’re important to me” than getting a video reply minutes after hanging up with your prospective Realtor. It’s always nice to put a face and voice to a name.
In almost any industry you can think of, especially those built on relationships, people like to do business with people they know, like, and trust. Video allows our team to associate our faces and voices with the customer in a quick, engaging, personable, and personal way. We might mention the property they’re looking at or hoping to list.
With a quick peek at a local market research app, we might drop in a few details about the neighborhood, the schools, restaurants, or distance to the beach, for example.
Smart phones and the apps they run bring us one step closer to helping accommodate our clients’ real estate buying or selling needs.
We know our clients are running at break-neck speeds. Life is frenetic – for all of us. The more productive and efficient we can make our time together, the faster we can help you on your unique mission. Whether that’s finding your next Fort Lauderdale home, selling the home you already have, or just learning a bit more about the community from people we hope you’ll come to know, like, and trust, our smart phones are the power tool to cement that relationship.
When time is precious, technology, smart phones and the tools they host allow The Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office to be on spot for every client and prospect from the first call – and hopefully to the home’s closing.
You can do your own research in neighborhoods like Lake Ridge, The Corals of Oakland Park, North Andrews Gardens, or Bay Colony and Wilton Manors. The Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Fort Lauderdale Beach Office has the tools, time, and experience to take what you discover to higher returns.
And if you speak English, French, Spanish, Portuguese – or the language of technology, we’re your digitally-connected, multilingual team.
Gary Lanham Group at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is a boutique real estate organization offering sales, leasing, and brokerage services to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. A listings agent matches home sellers with buyers and tenants with landlords. While Broward County is our universe, we focus on Coral Ridge Country Club, Oakland Park, Wilton Manors, Pompano Beach, and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (954) 695-6518 or visit www.GaryLanhamGroup.com.